Surreal Anglican….

New Director of the Anglican Center in Rome and Rowan Williams

The Anglican Communion News Service has a completely surreal article today that derserves examination as it could not get the Vatican more WRONG. The Article reads that Vatican’s concern for Anglican unity as greater than the Vatican’s concerns for the issues now before the Communion, homosexuality and WO. Here is the opening of the article:

Some in the Anglican Communion may have found themselves a little irritated by the amount of rhetoric that has issued from the Vatican in recent weeks on the divisions facing the church. The Anglican Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Holy See, the Very Revd David Richardson, says that instead, the concerns of the Roman Catholic Church should be taken as a very positive reminder that the unity of the church is God’s will.

While the Pope was in Australia celebrating World Youth Day, he urged the Anglican Church to avoid schism, and Cardinal Dias warned in his address to the Lambeth Conference about the dangers of disunity to evangelism.

“My take on it at this stage,” says Revd Richardson, “is that there is a lot of investment from the Roman Catholic Church in the Anglican Church cohering, for a whole range of reasons … the last thing they want to see is a church structurally split.” Schism, from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church was therefore, he said, “a really much more serious issue than the discipline or moral theological issues with which we’re wrestling.”

Let’s check this interpretation of the Vatican’s message against what the Vatican and its emmissaries have actually said. Cardinal Dias directly addressed Lambeth’s bishops in these words which came just before the typical pious Marian closing of the address:

Much is spoken today of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By analogy, their symptoms can, at times, be found even in our own Christian communities. For example, when we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer’s. And when we behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any co-ordination with the head or the other members of our community, it could be ecclesial Parkinson’s.

Hmmmm.  These are not the words of a man unconcerned about doctrine or proper church order.  Rather, the Catholic Church has several doctrinal concerns about Anglicanism.  The Church needs partners, not more adversaries in the culture wars.  The Church is always gladdened by the teaching of the truths of the Gospel.  A false image of the Gospel is always to held in contempt.  Lastly, the Church is reluctant to let go of an ecumenical partner, but is willing to do so that the Gospel of Christ be better served.

The better interpretation of the Vatican is that it is preparing for Anglicans to come home to Rome.

The concluding prayer of the address was this:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home:
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet: I do not ask to see the distant scene:
One step enough for me.

These are the words of Cardinal John Newman who is expected to be beatified in the coming months and who left Anglicanism precisely because of its uncertain ground as a moral teaching authority. If there is a message about unity in this address, it is that unity is found in Rome.

10 Responses to Surreal Anglican….

  1. Where did that poor gent get his cassock? A costume shop?

    My own cassock from seminary days was better put together… and it was sewn for me by a great seamstress who used a pattern for a civil war over-coat. Yea, I know, sounds odd… but it worked perfectly after she made her moderations. (They don’t sell Greek Cassock patterns at JoAnne Fabric, you know….)

    It is amusing how he has “gone native.” When in Rome, eh?

  2. Fr. J. says:

    Since we’re on a superficial topic, Richardson looks to me like Inspector Javert, striking and somewhat devious in appearance.

  3. Fr. J. says:

    So, I am wondering if Cardinal Dias is referring to TEC as the diseased tremoring limb or all of the AC. Is the “head” the ABC in this case? or Rome?

  4. Diane says:

    Why do the Anglicans insist on trying to rename us the Roman Catholic Church?? It does not make us so and just further hilights their desire to known as catholics, like us.

  5. Attempts to re-appropriate “catholic” for a Protestand denom gets a little sticky when you sit down with an Anglo-Catholic and a “High Church Lutheran” and ask them to hash out what they are meaning by the term…

    Pray for more converts.

  6. diane says:

    Hi, Diane! Are you the same Diane who posts at Chris Johnson’s blog? We Dianes get around. :-)

    As I observed at the Eirenikon blog, I don’t soooo much mind being called a Roman Catholic, but I draw the line at Roman or Romanist, which always makes me feel like a refugee from a toga party.

  7. Fr. J. says:

    Hi diane. Welcome to the Black Cordelias. “Roman Catholic” isnt the worst thing I’ve been called. But, in dealing with Anglicans and Orthodox, it is pretty easy to detect the sneer, especially when someone goes out of their way to always always include the “Roman.” I notice this with one writer in particular at Stand Firm. She never misses an opportunity. And from her previous comments it is clear that she thinks that “Roman Catholicism” is not the real Catholicism. It is classic Anglican superiority, and I find it corrosive.

    In the Orthodox context, it is important not to say RC when referring to the CC in its entirety as this leaves out the Eastern Catholics who are central to the discussion of East and West.

    Oh, and congrats, diane on your new blog! Very nice!

  8. Morse says:

    I was wondering what the response would be regarding this item.

    I say this I have also have had a similar experience from a housebound Catholic wishing to receive communion but with no Catholic Priests around in service (they are dying off at a tremendous pace here in the UK and Ireland)

    What was I to do? we discussed the situation and he was more than happy to receive from a ‘Catholic’ not in communion with the Roman see.

    Additionally I have just finished a beautiful book written by the late cardinal Hume whose words about ecumenicalism is a wonderful breath of fresh air and his words twinkle with wisdom and spirituality.

    Yours M


  9. Steven Rhodes says:

    The term Roman Catholic is not inappropriate. It relates to those Christians in communion with the see of Rome, aka the Holy See. There are those Christians in communion with the ecumenical patriarch, they are called orthodox, but they are no less Catholic than Roman Catholics. No church can claim true catholicity since 1054.

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